Avocado

The Other, Smarter (?) Way to Cut an Avocado

December 25, 2017

I know that there exist plenty of ways to keep an avocado from browning.

But have I ever used one? Nope.

Instead, I slice open my avocado—down the center, slipping the knife around the pit like I came out of the womb knowing how to do—and try to consume it as quickly as possible.

Three seconds later, these perfect avocados turned brown. Photo by James Ransom

Well, it turns out that there's an easier way to reduce the amount of green flesh that browns—no lemon juice, onion, or olive oil required—but it requires forgetting everything you've ever learned about life avocados.

Instead of slicing your avocado down the center, slice it crosswise, to make avocado rings.

This may seem unnatural to you—but stick with me!

I first saw this slicing method when my brother cut the hat off of his avocado, then proceeded to hack off puny little ring-shaped cross sections. (He claims to have thought of this technique himself, which only increased my skepticism.)

I considered this method an abomination of nature until I could no longer argue with the evidence of its value:

  1. First and foremost, there's less browning. Less surface area of avocado exposed to the air equals less oxidation, which means there's only a small, thin layer of browned flesh to scrape away.
  2. Have exactly how much you want. Each slice of avocado has less flesh, which means it's easier to get exactly the portion you're looking for. (When I cut an avocado the other way, I feel obligated to eat at least half, even if my piece of toast can sustain only 1/4 or 1/3.)
  3. And it's easily spoonable in your desired quantity. Use a small spoon to scoop out as much avocado as you'd like, leaving the skin intact to create a sort of avocado cave, inside which the precious flesh is protected.
  4. Cubing is possible; mashing is easy. You can still get avocado cubes using this method. Cut off a ring, slit the skin and peel it away from the flesh, then cube. And it's even easier to mash your avocado (which is often its destiny anyway): Using a spoon to scoop out chunks gets it halfway there.
The bottom left ring (slightly browned) was the top cross section of the avocado.

This is not to say there is no reason to cut avocados the "normal" way: It's the best method for achieving beautiful wedges for salads (though, I'd argue that I just end up cutting these wedges into cubes anyway) and natural bowls for filling with quinoa or beans or vinaigrette.

But sometimes we should defy what we've been taught! We should go rogue, cut our avocados into cross-sections, and stymie their swift demise!

And all this has me wondering: What other vegetables could we be slicing smarter?

This article originally ran in 2015, but there's no time like the present to examine avocado cutting technique!

Is this a very smart or a very silly way to cut an avocado? Tell me in the comments below!

42 Comments

susan G. December 25, 2017
I'm happy to see that my intuitive change in cutting avocados was just tapping into the gestalt.<br />But if I'm using the whole thing, or want to get wedges or use the pit cavity for sauce, I go longitudinal.<br />(We need another article about removing the pit: 2nd in the list of hand injuries in the ER.)<br />
 
eggplant_diary July 6, 2017
I always cut my avocado this way too : )
 
Ron S. July 4, 2017
Silly. What an ordeal and what a mess. FAIL
 
Risottogirl June 23, 2016
This is news? I have always cut my avo this way...as did my dad in Maine in the 60s when avo where TRULY exotic and expensive. He was a seacaptain and would bring them home along with mangos and papayas. Sometimes we would buy them at a specialty store to give him for Christmas. He always cut tem this way...perhaps to ensure less wasye?
 
Deneen R. December 31, 2015
I have been doing that for years! Thought of it myself!
 
Joe R. December 19, 2015
If I'm going to eat at least half an avocado; I hold the the avocado upright on one end, cut it around horizontally so I have two haves. I pull out the seed, then grab a spoon if the avocado is soft enough. There is nothing like a piece of fruit with its own cup. Lol.
 
Sandra C. December 9, 2015
And a little lemon juice prevents oxidation.
 
Sandra C. December 9, 2015
I grew up in Venezuela where avocado trees were abundant on our land. I don't understand all the hullaballoo about how to cut an avocado, it's subjective for sure. I will tell you how we did it -- we cut the avocado in half, stuck the knife in the seed and pulled it out, then we cut each half in half and peeled the avocado skin off -- takes seconds and no mess. While I'm here, in its natural habitat, avocados that are fully ripened or over ripened, fall to the ground, they swell, burst, root, and sprout. No seed in water with toothpicks and all that jazz, all you have to do to grow an avocado tree is to take the flat end of the seed and put it in dirt -- cover it at least half way -- keep it moist, warm, and in the sun if possible. It'll root faster.
 
Cathy W. February 17, 2018
Thankyou!!!!<br />
 
Lynn December 7, 2015
Bravo, Debbie. I rest my point.
 
Debbi U. December 7, 2015
Try peeling an orange this way....make a cut about 1/2" down from the top all the way around....do the same for the bottom. the middle section peels right off separating the pieces easily and beautifully.
 
Lynn December 6, 2015
My fellow food52 fans, you're missing the point. The blog was about the cutting of the avacado; the browning of same secondary. What was the last question about? .....what other vegetables can we cut smartly. Made an open face sandwich today for friend and me.....the round slices were PERFECT!
 
Holly S. December 6, 2015
PEOPLE ! ! This is the answer to a pristine avocado. I heard it from none other than Julia Child. You can peel the avocado perhaps as much as 4 hours before you wish to use it. The secret? Cut the avocado in half, peel it, run cool water over the pieces and set on a paper towel until you want to proceed. The avocado will not turn brown. Now THAT is genius.
 
Adriana N. December 6, 2015
This is the way we cut avocados in my country, so nothing new for me!
 
linda December 6, 2015
you can slice end to end in single wedges the size you need----same thing as the circles--same amount gets brown
 
Bee December 6, 2015
Exactly! And so much easier too. I've been cutting slices since forever. Makes more sense to do it this way as each slice can be similar vs. the way, featured.
 
Jeff S. December 6, 2015
NOTE TO PROGRESSINE LIBERALS >>>Please take my comment below with only one grain of salt.
 
Jeff S. December 6, 2015
The easy answer was discovered by my Mother, God rest her soul. After cutting the avocado shw would spray it with a light coat of Windex. I admit it took awhile for my lovely wife to believe I was not trying to kill her but the brown flesh never appears. Second, it seems to also act like a mouth wash. Multi- purpose...Great !
 
Joe C. February 17, 2018
Tell me I didn’t just read that Windex was used on an avacado? Why not just drink the windex the then eat the avacado, Wow! I thought I’ve heard it all then, that gets printed, let’s not lose our minds here, we’re talking about chemicals here, just cut away the brown and eat the thing already !
 
Louise December 6, 2015
I slice mine traditionally. I eat 1/2 & before placing the remainder in an airtight container, I take a small drop of avocado oil & spread it all over the exposed flesh. No oxidation issues ever.
 
Karen C. December 6, 2015
I can't be the only person in the world who could care less if I eat a brown avocado or banana, burnt toast, brown potatoes, etc. It still tastes the same to me!
 
Patsy December 6, 2015
ok, in my family I'm the only one to eat avocados for breakfast and I only want half. The other half is used for a salad or chip dip later in the day. Here's my Common Sense Solution and it works! I put the other half to save into a glass or bowl, cover it with WATER, place it in the fridge and go on about my day. Takes literally 10 seconds and WORKS! No brown whatsoever. Why? Because the oxygen cannot get to the precious avocado. By the way, works for potatoes too. Aw shucks, I'm just a grandma who's been there and done that. Now, where's my prize? No tee-shirts pls. <br />
 
Lynn December 6, 2015
Now this is truly "genius", and so simple, and why the heck didn't I think of it first!